South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Zone 3 council told crime is up during this year's holiday season

 

December 26, 2017



“Crime doesn’t stop, so we shouldn’t,” said Zone 3 Public Safety Council president Ken Wolfe on why a meeting was called a week before Christmas.

The Dec. 18 meeting began with a brief holiday crime overview, including that robberies and burglaries are up this time of year. Do not leave valuables in cars that can be seen, thereby tempting thieves to break in and steal the items.

In updates, the annual “Get Stuffed With Love” program that ensures no city residents go without a traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, fed 1500 residents in Zone 3, and 3000 city-wide, which is an increase from last year.

Everyone in need was eligible to receive a free, warm meal delivered to their residence. 

Next, group vice-president Liz Style said she has noticed more of a police presence in the South Side Flats.

An officer in attendance said the department has supplemented its patrols, and is trying to get the nightlife under control.

Group secretary Donna Williams asked if manpower is up.

A police official said the zone is where the police department said it should be.

Ms. Williams next reported that she and Zone 3 community relations Officer Christine Luffey attended a block watch reorganization meeting in Arlington, where there are problems with rentals and university students.

The block watch was told to get in touch with South Watch about dealing with college students.

South Watch, the new South Side Flats and Slopes code enforcement project, works to improve the quality of life on the South Side by bringing people and institutions together to identify code violations, advocate for their remediation, and monitor the outcomes.

Arlington block watch officials plan to attend the next Zone 3 Public Safety Council meeting.

Jeff Brown, community outreach specialist in the city’s Dept. of Public Safety, said that in January new materials and flyers will come out about starting a block watch.

He said a lot of groups function as block watches but do not see themselves as a block watch. He wants them to know that they also have access to Public Safety Dept. information.

An attendee relayed the story of a thief stealing items off a porch on Zara St. The homeowner tracked him down with the aid of neighbors, and the police were never called.

A police official said it is important to contact police and get a report started as the thief has probably struck before. If the thief knows the police are involved it might stop the criminal behavior.

“Not everybody in the zone has neighbors who are so vigilant,” he said.

Next, Mr. Wolfe reminded everyone

Officer Nathan Auvil is leaving Zone 3 on Jan. 2 as he has been promoted to detective.

“We hold you in high regard,” Mr. Wolfe told him as he presented him with a small token of the group’s appreciation.

“It’s been wonderful working with all of you,” Officer Auvil said.

“We’ve enjoyed having you. You have done a lot of things for the zone,” Mr. Wolfe said.

Officer Aundre Wright said he would be on the Nightline television show the following evening. The series, “Black and Blue,” explores the challenges faced by black officers in the era of Black Lives Matter and Blues Lives Matter.

The episode can be viewed at: http://abcnews.go.com/US/black-blue-black-police-officers-navigate-divided-country/story?id=51888899 .

Ms. Williams said that Officer Wright is popular with children as they all wanted to be with him while delivering turkeys during “Get Stuffed With Love” on Thanksgiving. She said his partner, fellow neighborhood resource officer Brian Shelton, is also popular.

Next, Mr. Brown announced Zone 3 has the best social media engagement among all of the zones.

“Keep it up,” he said.

An attendee reported Knoxville Community Council will hold a bullying forum on Feb. 8 with a panel and question-and-answer session. There will be another forum on March 8 on “Understanding Sexual Assault.”

She also reported the community council wants to start a mentoring program for children with problems, such as being bullied. The program would be held during community council meetings on the first Thursdays at St. Paul AME Church.

She said children are a high priority in terms of what is happening in Knoxville these days.

The next meeting of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council will be on Jan. 22.

 

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